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Local authority prosecuted for gas safety failings

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has been fined £83,600 for failing to arrange annual safety checks on gas appliances in tenanted accommodation.

The local authority is required by law to arrange annual checks by a Gas Safe registered engineer and keep and maintain gas safety records for all the properties it provides in its capacity as a landlord.

However, an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed it failed to provide adequate certification for appliances in scores of properties under its control between April 2008 and July 2010.

On 11 July, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard that HSE uncovered the failings after a tenant at Stewarts Lodge, a multi-occupancy emergency hostel, complained that a gas safety certificate wasn't available.

Checks at the hostel on 10 July 2009 found that a gas safety record for the property, which contained several gas cookers and other appliances, had expired on 4 April 2008 - 15 months previously.

HSE asked the local authority to provide a 'lapse table' for other properties where annual safety checks had slipped and was given a list of 297 properties. Twenty were subsequently investigated by HSE and all were found to contain gas cookers or boilers that should have been checked at least every 12 months.

HSE prosecuted London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham for nine separate breaches of Regulation 36(3)(a) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 in relation to lapsed checks, with a further 14 breaches taken into consideration in agreement with the defendant.

The local authority pleaded guilty to all nine breaches and was fined a total of £83,600 and ordered to pay full costs of £15,553.


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